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Thursday, April 28, 2016

When Bernie Sanders supporters attack

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker from The Berkshire Eagle 

On Tuesday evening, Anne Rice wrote a Facebook post on her page, congratulating Hillary Clinton. Ms. Rice is recovering from a serious illness, and hasn't been active on Facebook, leaving the day to day tasks to her assistant, Becket. Thus, it is likely she had no idea what was about to happen. Within minutes, supporters of Bernie Sanders descended, attacking Anne Rice for her post. It became so contentious, Anne finally removed her original statement, overwhelmed with what she called hate speech. Hate speech like this:
We all saw it. You can pull it down, but you are now on the wrong side of history. Did Hillary promise more vampire anal sex? Or was it just money? Or did you just drop the post to rework it into about 400,000 more words than it needs? Did you know that in creative writing courses today your work is the example of how not to write descriptive text? I'd say you've lost a fan, but since you became a right wing nut job and got intolerably Christy you've lost most of us anyhow. When Trump wins, your books will be on the pyre with everyone else's. And we will all remember how you supported the only candidate who can't beat him. I guess you finally got enough money to become one of them.
 Anne Rice is most definitely not a "right wing nut job," nor is she some sort of paid shill. Anne Rice is a kind and generous woman who took over an hour several years ago to speak to me on the phone for an interview. She does not warrant the hate and vitriol Sanders supporters were hurling at her all Tuesday and Wednesday. And she is not alone. 

George Takei shared this meme with his millions of Facebook followers:

Takei's point with this meme is obvious-we need to keep Republicans out of the White House. The quote, by the way, is from Bernie Sanders. That fact did not stop the "Bernie Or Bust" brigade from going after George Takei with a vengeance, posting things like:
George, you're advocating for people to support a war monger. Hitlery Clinton is Dick Cheney in a pantsuit. She's a vile human being, better suited to be on trial for war crimes, rather than seeking the presidential nomination. 
And:
Very disappointed, your [sic] just telling people to vote the line when you would be quick to throw insults to the other party for towing the line. God forbid people vote with their free will and vote for a candidate they like. And yes I love Bernie and will vote for him if he's the nominee. If Hillary is the nominee I'm voting Republican.
you have lost your mind???.. why in the fuck would you back hillary, the fucking RIGHT WING CLOWN CRIMINAL???
 I can no longer follow you knowing you support an Imperialist, Warmongering Psychopath like Clinton. She's the type of politician that would be standing at the gates of the Internment Camp they threw your family in. Bye, George.
 I just lost respect for you when you put your story for Hillary. We thought you were better than this. I guess even Queens like you can be bought.
 George, stick to the droll puns and gay humor.. Politics is apparently too complicated for you. We're willing to lay it all on the line for what we believe in. Things have got to change! And after THIS fiasco of a primary season, more than ever, it's obvious things have to change. Don't be a corporate puppet. ‪#‎NeverHilLiary‬
Takei made a video, explaining his position, which didn't go over well, either. 

The "Bernie Or Bust" movement is made up of many different demographics, but the most prominent is Millenials. In 2004, researchers Neil Howe and William Sturgess identified Millenials as "as those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter." (source) Someone born in 1982 would be 34 this year, and would have been 28 in 2010, the year the Tea Party slithered into Congress, thanks to severe apathy on the part of the left. But when Bill Clinton stated this fact-we lost the House in 2010 because younger people didn't vote-"liberal" media and bloggers lost their minds, because they all think of Millenials as high schoolers. Even someone born prior to November in 1992 would have been able to vote in 2010. 

This November is going to be rather interesting, given how many Sanders supporters are stating they will either write in his name, not vote, or vote Republican. Is Hillary Clinton perfect? Of course not, and neither is Bernie Sanders, but it often seems that Sanders supporters view him as some sort of messianic Robin Hood, and he can do no wrong. And when a public figure dares to post something with which they do not agree, Bernie Sanders supporters attack. 

When this election cycle began, I wonder if anyone saw this coming. That liberals would turn on each other, begin repeating right-wing lies, begin attacking friends, blocking family on social media, becoming misogynists, and behaving like conservatives. A lot of us were prepared for a fight between left and right. We were not prepared for this. At least I wasn't. I wasn't prepared to see a male friend (well, former, after this) post the following as part of an epithet-laden diatribe against Hillary Clinton:
Yeah, I'm done arguing. Y'all go ahead and have your Hillary v. Trump election, and when you figure out the only difference between them is a pair of tits, a pantsuit, 30 IQ points, and a slightly more well-concealed contempt for the poor and minorities, it'll be too late and we'll have balkanized.
Way to go, folks. If anyone ever needed evidence that the "left" wing in this country is no less prone to self-destructive decision-making based on fear, stupidity, and prejudice than the right, tonight's primary results ought to be a good start.
An oligarch in a skirt is still an oligarch.
A plutocrat with a menstrual cycle is still a plutocrat.
An aggressive war hawk with tits is still an aggressive war hawk.
Way to go, folks. If anyone ever needed evidence that the "left" wing in this country is no less prone to self-destructive decision-making based on fear, stupidity, and prejudice than the right, tonight's primary results ought to be a good start.An oligarch in a skirt is still an oligarch.A plutocrat with a menstrual cycle is still a plutocrat.An aggressive war hawk with tits is still an aggressive war hawk.
The general consensus from my friends, one of whom is a Bernie Sanders supporter, was "ew."  

I'm sure Clinton supporters attack as well, and I'm sure some of them have said or written things they could take back. It just seems, at least on the internet, Sanders supporters attack with much more vehemence, more rage, more hostility, and sadly, more parroting of right-wing tripe. 

Hopefully, we can pull it together in time to keep Donald Trump or Ted Cruz out of the White House, but I have my doubts. I've tried asking for pragmatism, for people to look at the bigger picture, and I was attacked. I've been removed and blocked on Facebook for pointing out Pope Francis did not invite Bernie Sanders to the Vatican. I've been called an elitist, a closet conservative, and other names that I prefer not to type. All because, while I am a Hillary supporter, I will vote for Bernie if he is the nominee, and I asked Sanders supporters to do the same-vote for Clinton if she is the nominee. You'd think I asked for Sanders supporters to beat themselves to death with Charlton Heston's gun.

I'm tired of the infighting, I'm tired of being scared to say I support Hillary Clinton online. I'm just tired. Vote blue, please, because honestly, the alternative is truly frightening.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What anxiety feels like

Image of Anxiety Monster by Toby Allen

A little over a month ago, I was offered a job. It was a part-time job, at a local organic grocery store. Not a lot of money, but any little bit helps. And I couldn't do it. I wanted to, still do want to work, and I can't right now. Engaging with people is exhausting, trying to keep up that facade of "Hi! How are you? Love your sweater, how are the kids, what can I do for you?" is just too much for me. 

That's anxiety, at least for me. Combined with my PTSD and chronic depression, my anxiety makes it extremely difficult to do the things most people take for granted. For example: This past Saturday, we attended a DFL event. We brought 10 dozen donuts, set up chairs and tables, chatted with folks, sold food, and all of that was so stressful. I kept waiting for someone to say "Aren't you the Erin Nanasi who is suing CTC? Why'd you wait so long? You do know CTC was a fantastic institution, and you 'victims' are just trying to get money, right?" 

After the DFL event, we had a birthday party. I planned it-ordered the cakes, the food, bought the decorations, and put the room together. I lasted about two hours before I could feel the panic start to rise. Different source of anxiety, however. Forty people, in a room not designed for forty people, endless chattering, trying to stay focused on the tasks at hand, while all the while, desperately wanting to just go home. 


One of my closest friends asked me the other day who I socialize with. I shrugged, and made some inane response, but the truth is, no one. I can't. I hang out with my husband, because he understands. He doesn't judge, he doesn't roll his eyes when I tell him I honestly can't handle a job right now, he rubs my shoulders, and holds me when I cry, and gives me smooches. He's my support system. My anxiety can be crippling at times, and this is one of those times. 

I'm trying, though. I am attending a Moms Demand Action house party in two weeks, I'm going out for dinner with my dad, stepmom, and husband next Saturday for my birthday. I'm getting together with friends later on this month. It takes me a bit longer than most to prepare for these outings; mostly, I stand in front of the mirror and tell myself over and over again "You'll be fine, just breathe, you'll be fine."

I guess I would tell others with anxiety the same thing-you'll be fine, just breathe, you'll be fine. Maybe they'll believe it more than I do.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

In honor of my friend

Sabra Thurber, Erin Brock (me), and Kyra Thurber, some time in the late 1980's


I was fifteen when I met Kyra for the first time. And I was terrified. Here was this olive-skinned, worldly, bright, stunningly beautiful girl, and there I was: pale, plain, too-short hair, a few scars already on my arms from cutting. We hated each other on sight.

We have been friends ever since. We've had fights, arguments. stopped speaking to one another, moved away. moved back, survived rape, domestic violence, death, adultery, and general horribleness. A friendship that started out as unabashed dislike bloomed into something that's lasted over thirty years.

When I got my driver's license, my parents forbade me from driving around and around Lake Harriet (in south Minneapolis). This was known as cruising, and since I was driving my mom's car, it was a big no-no. Obviously, I did it anyway. One evening, Kyra, our friend Tanya, and I were cruising around Lake Harriet, and we came to a sudden stop behind a car parked in the middle of the road. To this day, Kyra swears what happened didn't happen, but what happened is she gave them the finger when we finally passed. And they chased us for the next two hours. I drove over curbs, over grass, possibly through bushes, speeding, swearing, most likely crying at some point, because these assholes would not stop. We ended up in the parking lot of a gas station. I threw a shoe at them. We called 911, who didn't believe us, because I guess, in hindsight, it did sound pretty weird. The taillight on my mom's Dasher was smashed at some point, and I had to pay for that. For a very, very, very long time.

Kyra is the closest thing I have to a sister. She is brave beyond measure, caring without abandon, she is a survivor and a thriver. She is strong and funny and gorgeous and no matter how much time passes between phone calls, when we chat, it's as if no time has passed at all. She is what a friend is supposed to be.

And two nights ago, during a phone conversation, Kyra told me I am her hero, because I am telling my truth about Children's Theatre. Kyra was a student there, too, and has her own story. We both received excellent grades, even though we rarely attended classes, choosing instead to hold court in Fair Oaks coffee shop. Fair Oaks is also where I learned to love French fries and mayonnaise. The grades were a surprise, especially the B's we both received in classes that weren't even offered at CTC, but that's another story for another time.

Kyra's family took me in when, at age 16, my mother threw me out of the house. They fed me, and sheltered me, and cared for me when my own mother would not. I have always been grateful for that. My parents-mostly my mom-did not like Kyra, most likely because she saw through the facade, and realized the kind of person my mother really was. Funny, that's one of the reasons I love Ky so much; she knew, she always knew.

We get to see each other this weekend, for the first time in a few years. In honor of my friend, I am cleaning my house (hoping she and her kids will be able to stop by), getting a haircut, and buying waterproof mascara, because I know there will be crying, at least on my part. My husband thinks it's pretty amazing that Ky and I have remained friends for so long, especially since we both have survived trauma. It's not amazing, or maybe it is, but I can't imagine a life without her friendship.

In honor of Kyra, I write about my friend, my sister, my partner in crime (not for awhile but there were things...) and one of the bravest women I know. I love you.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Privileged Progressive

Image from Getty

If you've spent any time on the internet of late, you have most likely bumped into a privileged progressive. Privileged progressives are the charming folks who say that if Bernie Sanders is not the nominee, they are either not going to vote at all, write in Jill Stein, or vote for Donald Trump. Because throwing the White House away doesn't affect a privileged progressive.

A typical privileged progressive is usually pretty well-off, usually white, and won't be harmed in any way by a Trump presidency. They're not Muslim, or refugees, or immigrants, so his xenophobia is offensive, yes, but not personally so. They treat women with respect, so Trump's horrible misogyny is offensive, yes, but not personally so. They think Black Lives Matter, so Trump's calling the BLM movement a terrorist organization is offensive, but not personally so.

Privileged progressives like Bernie Sanders because he hates the super-rich, even if they themselves are super-rich. It's not them who are the problem; it's the Walton family, and the Koch brothers. Heck, Bernie's got a little money tucked away (in his wife's name), but he's rumpled and doesn't dress fancy, so he's just fine.

Luckily, privileged progressives now have a poster child: Susan Sarandon. Sarandon appeared on MSNBC recently with Chris Hayes, to chat about how much she loves Bernie Sanders, despises Hillary Clinton, and Monsanto (oh for the love of GOD), and thinks voting for Donald Trump if her pet politician doesn't get the nomination might be a good idea. Oh come on, you say, you're misinterpreting her comments. Well, if I am, then so are The Washington Post, The Atlantic, CNN, Business Insider, and Gawker's click bait site for feminists, Jezebel.

Once Sarandon realized that people can hear you when you say words out loud, she backtracked faster then Thelma and Louise went over that cliff. After Jamie Lee Curtis and Debra Messing called her out on Twitter, Sarandon decided to clarify things by stating she would never support Trump "for any reason," and we all misunderstood what she said.

No, we didn't, because there are quite a lot of Sanders supporters saying the same thing. It reminds me of when my son was a toddler, and didn't get what he wanted. Petulance, then whining, then screaming, then finally, a full-blown tantrum. I think we're still in the petulance stage, but if Hillary Clinton ends up being the nominee, we will probably be witness to a rather large tantrum, accompanied by screaming.

Is Hillary Clinton perfect? Not at all, but neither is Bernie Sanders. Sanders really did vote to dump Vermont's nuclear waste next to a tiny Texas town populated by Mexican immigrants. Bernie Sanders really does fight tooth and nail to get defense contracts in Vermont, while telling people he hates the defense industry.

But it seems privileged progressives don't care. Hillary Clinton is evil, she's sold her soul to the devil, she's a Monsanto shill, she's too rich, she's too shrill, she supported shitty laws her husband signed. Bernie, on the other hand, is so pure and wonderful, a little birdie landed on his podium, which is obviously a sign from God that we should all vote for him.

Look, in November, what matters is keeping Donald Trump or Ted Cruz out of the White House. Sanders and Clinton are both good candidates. They are not saints, they have screwed up in the past. They are our only hope of remaining a country that does good things (sometimes? most of the time?). If privileged progressives keep promising to throw this election to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. remember-they don't care about you. They only want what they want, everyone else be damned.

Don't ever forget how well the whole privileged progressive whine-fest turned out in 2000. Ever.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weekly Word News vs World Net Daily


I have a confession to make: For quite a few years, I thought Weekly World News and World Net Daily were the same thing. And when friends would post something about WND relating to politics, I was confused, because what did Bat Boy have to do with congress? In time, I realized WWN and WND are separate entities, and WND is worse.

See, with WWN, you know what you're getting. Here are some headlines from their website:

"New Bat Boy Film!"

"Yowie Spotted in London!"

"Study: Cronuts Raise IQ."

One of their most popular posts, according to the site, is How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil.

Okay, that's Weekly World News. Weird, wacky, goofy, did I mention weird. Now, World Net Daily.

World Net Daily is a nasty little website run by two truly disturbed men, Joseph Farah and Dr. Jerome Corsi. Farah is such a horrible human being, he has page after page after page dedicated to him at Right Wing Watch. Corsi is proof that anyone with sixty grand a year to spend on tuition can get a PhD from Harvard. Oh and he lies.

Here are a few of WND's headlines:

"Avant-Garde Artist 'Marries' A Rock."

"District Invites Satan Into U.S. Classrooms."

In their "Commentary" section, World Net Daily boasts columns by such luminaries as Ted Nugent, Ann Coulter, and recently, Michele Bachmann. Rick Santorum has also written a column or two for WND. Two former presidential candidates write for a website that took Larry Sinclair seriously, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on "Where's the Birth Certificate?" merchandise.

Which is why WND is worse than WWN. Is there really a giant, furry beast called a yowie wandering the streets of London? Of course not. But are there people in this country who believe Obama is a Muslim Kenyan communist baby-killing Nazi anti-Christ fascist? Oh yes. A lot. Those people adore World Net Daily, because Coulter, Bachmann, Nugent, Corsi, Farah, and the rest of them feed their hatred and fear.

Go ahead and read Weekly World News. Learn about the yowie. Watch the Bat Boy documentary, which is below, because it's hilarious. Eat a Cronut, then apply to Mensa. And remember: WWN may be weird, and bizarre, and their articles may be horribly written, but at least you won't find anything by Ted Nugent there.




Monday, March 7, 2016

There is a corner in my mind where monsters live




There is a corner in my mind where monsters live
They're usually quiet
Maybe they play cards
Or Monopoly
They don't bother me much
Except when they do
And when they do
They roar
They growl
But the scariest monsters
Whisper
They whisper remember
Remember the bruises
Remember the screaming
Remember the blood
Remember the loneliness
Remember being afraid of everything
And everyone
There is a corner in my mind where monsters live
It's empty now
As they slither around
Bumping into my thoughts
Stealing my joy
Interrupting my life
Flexing their sinewy muscle
Punching their way through my dreams
Am I strong enough
I wonder
Am I stronger than the monsters
I didn't used to be
They always won
I would listen to their whispers
And dig into my own skin to make them stop
There is a corner in my mind where monsters live
They'll go back there
Eventually
But for now
We wrestle and fight and snarl and glare
I'll win
Because I have no choice

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump attacked Pope Francis

Image from The Telegraph

As a lapsed-but-still-Catholic-if-I'm-dying-in-a-hospital, I kind of adore Pope Francis. He touches poor people, as opposed to Benedict who sort of sneered at them, he loves everyone, he studied chemistry and believes climate change is real, and he's taking the Catholic church out of the dark ages, albeit with baby steps, because honestly, that's all Catholicism can handle. He also calls out hate and xenophobia when he sees it, as he recently did in Mexico:
'A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,' Francis said when a reporter asked him about Mr. Trump on the papal airliner as he returned to Rome after his six-day visit to Mexico. (source)
Pope Francis is absolutely correct. Trump's rhetoric attacking refugees, Muslims, and Mexicans, is the antithesis of Christ's message. Given how Bible-y Trump has tried to become in order to court evangelicals, one would think he might understand this. Of course, conservative evangelicals aren't exactly following in Christ's footsteps either.

In response to Pope Francis's statement, Donald Trump released one of his own:

If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened. ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians.
The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them. The Pope only heard one side of the story - he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn’t see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation.
For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They are using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.
Donald J. Trump
For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. Really. Where was Trump when Franklin Graham waffled on a question about President Obama's Christianity? Or when Franklin Graham said Obama only knows Islam? Or when James David Manning called President Obama the devil? No leader should have the right to question another man's religion or faith. Oh. My. Goodness. Here are a few "leaders" questioning President Obama's faith:

Todd Starnes
Tony Perkins
Fox "News"
Donald Trump

Donald Trump is Christian at this moment because he's courting evangelicals. Trump isn't an actual Christian any more than I am an actual tall person. And how big an ego does a man have if he truly believes Pope Francis's first thought if Daesh attacks the Vatican is "oh dear, I wish Donald Trump was president."

Pope Francis is right. Refusing to accept the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses, goes against the teaching of Jesus. But there's good news for Trump: A lot of conservatives hate the Pope. They think he's too liberal, as opposed to the actual Jesus, who, I guess, was a raging capitalist who hated the poor? So this attack on Pope Francis most likely didn't change the minds of Trump's more rabid supporters. Odds are, Trump will ratchet it up a bit.

Remember, he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and people would still love him. Because that's what Jesus would do.